When last we left, Eno was trying to kill Evangeline when she stopped to talk to Verlaine, and Bruno saw the two angels duking it out and pursued because he’s got a creepy obsession with Eno for no reason. And now we come back to Verlaine doing… parkour?
Verlaine climbed onto the ledge of a window, grasped the iron bars of the balcony, and, swinging his legs to gain momentum, pulled himself up toward the rooftop, the soles of his wing tips slipping as he climbed.
Still, he’s not as good as the Parkour Master:
I mean, he invented freaking Spider-Man.
But honestly, it’s more climbing than just parkour. There’s not a lot of indication that he’s doing it particularly quickly. No rush man; an assassin is just trying to eviscerate the woman who you’ve been calling your Tru Luv and all. I get it, though. A guy in his thirties or so that’s climbing up buildings in Paris? If he’s in good shape, I might buy that he’s able to do it, but not too quickly, given that he’s never been shown to be especially athletic or anything—
His body was lean, his muscles tight and long, his endurance high. He would be forty-three years old in less than a week and he was in the best condition of his life, able to run for miles without breaking a sweat.
Look, first off: he’s in his forties? Really? A middle-aged man is still in love with a woman he knew for a single night ten years ago? Um… okay then.
Perhaps I just missed it in the last book, but I assumed that Verlaine was in his twenties or so then. It mentioned a bit about his college life, so I guessed he was fresh out of college. But forty?? There’s nothing wrong with a middle-aged protagonist, but it’s a tad strange when I had no idea that he was anywhere near middle-aged until you throw it in my face like that.
Second: someone, correct me if I’m wrong, but is it normal for a vanilla human, age forty-two, to be “able to run for miles without breaking a sweat?” It doesn’t sound normal to me, considering he wasn’t much of an athlete (that I could tell) when we saw him ten years ago. I guess in ten years you can improve your physical abilities, but would it really be that much?
So Verlaine, on mirakuru or something, sees Eno flying right by him after Evangeline. The two angels land and face-off.
There was no doubt in Verlaine’s mind that the Emim was an exceptionally powerful angel.
Oh my God, Trussoni; for once in this book can you show me a character trait instead of telling me? If you want to have Verlaine telling the reader that Eno’s dangerous, how about he observes her doing something dangerous? Like killing someone who gets in her way on her chase, or firing a gun in mid-air, not caring if civilians accidentally get killed? No? Okay.
Because you know what we get instead? Right after that sentence, we get a description of how beautiful Eno is. No really.
As he examined the creature’s bone structure and facial features he saw that everything—her large, alien eyes and sinuous body—coalesced to form a strange and inhuman beauty. One rarely came across such a striking Emim. He took a deep breath and wondered what kind of god would fashion such a seductive and evil being.
…you know, in a Judeo-Christian fantasy setting, you’d think the word ‘God’ would be capitalized. Because what other deity would he possibly be referring to in this context?
Can we stop obsessing over how beautiful Eno is? Never mind that the above description makes her sound more like a grey alien than an angel, let’s just move past it—I don’t need everyone constantly telling me how hot she is. It’s annoying.
Also! Verlaine, man, this is your job. If you’re such a badass angel hunter, why is the sight of Eno so mind-boggling?
Verlaine heard something behind him and turned to see Bruno emerge from a balcony just below. He knew that he should have called for assistance right away, that following Evangeline without backup went against all that he’d been trained to do, but Verlaine hadn’t even thought to alert Bruno.
That’s right! At no point in this chase did he stop and think, “Hey, maybe I should consider getting backup for apprehending an angelic assassin.” And I wouldn’t know if it’s what you’re trained to do, considering Bruno didn’t start looking for you until long after you walked off.
I don’t know what else to say.
“Going solo against a creature like Eno is suicide,” Bruno said, gasping for breath as he pulled himself over the ledge. “Believe me, I’ve been there.”
Ah, so it’s suicide. Tell me then, if you’ve been there, how you’re still alive?
And don’t bother helping him in this dangerous climb, Verlaine. Just let him pull himself up a building all by himself. For reasons.
Instead of showing us that Bruno’s clearly got a thing for Eno, the narration just tells us that Verlaine notices Bruno’s stance and how there’s clearly some reaction to the Emim. Why this doesn’t shine through in the dialogue? I don’t know, but I suspect laziness.
Evangeline and Eno circle each other dramatically and show off their wings in a display for dominance. I’m still unsure of how the wings work, because Verlaine gives us this tidbit:
…he knew that if he were to touch them, his hand would pass through as if skimming through a projection of light.
That… makes no sense. Because last book explicitly told us that angels’ wings were their weakest points. You rip off an angel’s wing, it bleeds to death. Trussoni, you told us that. It was one of the most interesting scenes in the last book. Now you’re saying their wings are intangible?
Okay, okay, I’ll try to ease up on the images…
Bruno and Verlaine watch the duel about to unfold, and Bruno explains what’s what to Verlaine (and the audience), and both are not thinking of, oh, I don’t know, interfering or helping. I’m baffled as to why this was included, this dueling exposition, because angel duels aren’t things that happen in the book. You’d think that this book would end with a climatic duel between angels, but it doesn’t—there’s just one duel here and that’s it. Which is a shame, because this book could really do with awesome angel duels.
Then we get this nonsense:
The duel was an ancient angelic ritual, one that was considered outdated by modernized Nephilim. For centuries the custom had remained embedded in Russia, however, where the presence of the most powerful Nephilim, those descending from ancient angelic families, resides. Human beings once copied the practice, challenging on another in the name of honor, marking off paces and shooting at close range.
Yes, you got that right. Duels were started because humans were copying an angelic practice. Never mind your pretty little heads that dueling or fighting is a pretty natural reaction to being offended; “You pissed me off, now I’m going to kill you.” No, you see, because angels are so much better than humans, we had to learn from them how to kill each other over insults.
I’m throwing my hands up in the air right now, because Trussoni really doesn’t care. It would be like if I told you in my science fiction book that aliens taught humans how to wipe their arses after taking a dump, because it’s totally not something we’d figure out on our own. Dueling is not rocket science.
Also, aren’t all Nephilim descended from ancient angelic families? They might not be part of aristocratic families, but they’re related if you go back far enough. I might not have the same pedigree as the Queen of England, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re the same species and we have ancestors and an old family.
Also, a duel is to the death. In case you didn’t know.
A duel between angels was theoretically a confrontation to the death. Only one of the angels would make it out alive.
[walks away from desk to bookshelf]
[pulls out first edition copy of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan]
“What do they say, these days, Grover? Do the children say, ‘Well, duh!’?”
“Y-yes, Mr. D.”
“Then, well duh!”
[slides book back onto shelf]
I think my point is clear.
Evangeline and Eno start their fight, and Evangeline actually does a lot better than expected, in that she puts up a fight and doesn’t die immediately. The fight actually sounds kind of interesting—I lose track of the movement, but I understand it’s hard to write a battle between two flying creatures, so I’m not docking any points for it.
It’s noted that Evangeline is powerful enough to end Eno, but doesn’t—which I think is interesting. It’s a bit of character development that doesn’t really go anywhere, but it’s nice. Evangeline doesn’t want to be like Eno, someone who is comfortable with killing and violence. She’d rather be someone who didn’t have to live that kind of lifestyle.
Except in the conversation with Verlaine a couple of chapters ago, she admitted to killing a Giborrim, and she did let that one other angel hybrid die in her place to avoid being assassinated. And the last book ended with her killing Percival Grigori. But in this moment, she refuses to kill.
Anyhoo, when Evangeline gets the upper hand, Verlaine expects her to take out Eno and end the fight, but instead she submits and lets herself be captured rather than become a creature of (more) violence.
This text is acting like she’s being noble by rejecting the life of a killer, forgetting that she’s already killed before. And okay, I can fully understand that she doesn’t want to kill Eno right now. That’s fine. But there’s a huge difference between choosing not to kill someone and letting them capture or kill you. It’s as if she never considered that she could just knock out Eno and then fly away. Yeah, it would suck to be on the run, but you wouldn’t be killed by Eno.
You’ve got wings, Evangeline! Use them!
Like, you know those episodes of Supernatural where Castiel seemingly forgets he’s an angel (a seraph, actually), and doesn’t teleport or smite anyone when it’d obviously be so much easier to do so? Yeah, I suspect Evangeline is like that all the time.
Eno captures Evangeline and—wait, what? Captures? If Eno had orders to capture Evangeline, why did she kill the person she thought was Evangeline in the beginning? Eno’s a killer; we’ve been told this multiple times. Why is Evangeline getting captured instead?
None of this makes any sense! Why aren’t any of you acting like sane people?!
Bruno pulls out his angel-stun-gun, and Verlaine begs him not to hit Evangeline, who Bruno recognizes and has no reaction to despite that as far as he knew, Evangeline was dead and was human. Bruno says he’s not going to take down Evangeline, but they just kind of watch as Eno flies off with Evangeline in tow.
That’s right! They have done absolutely nothing in this chapter.
Verlaine insists they go after them. And we get this:
“It’s useless to try to track Eno in Paris,” Bruno said, as he walked to the edge of the roof and began to climb down to the balcony. “If we want to capture her, we’ll have to hunt her on her own territory.”
This city, which Eno hates being in because it’s supposedly crawling with angel hunters. You can’t track her here. In order to track her, you’re going to go to where she hangs out. Where she has God knows how many hideouts and allies.
Let me repeat: you are going to hunt a hostile enemy on her own turf.
Whatever. Let’s take a break, since that’s the last line of the chapter, and of part one. Part two, labeled “The Second Circle: LUST” begins next time. For now, I’m out: